Manufacturing technology orders generally decline in January. This year is no exception with orders totaling $372 million for the month, down 20 percent compared to December.
However, that decline wasn't much comparatively. According to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report from AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology, it was the second-largest January in the 22 years recorded by the USMTO program.
"The large volumes ordered in January were on par with expectations and indicative of the capacity expansion we expect U.S. manufacturers to pursue throughout 2018 and well into the next year," said AMT President Douglas K. Woods. "Globally, market expansion is nearly unpredcedented, with the world Purchasing Managers Index on the rise and the U.S. PMI at a 14-year high. Still, growth has its challenges, and this tremendous increase in demand is creating shortages in components worldwide."
Every region tracked by USMTO recorded order growth relative to January 2017, while only the south-central region realized a month-over-month gain as it benefitted from strong orders in primary metal products, contract machining and improvement in oil and gas. The north central west region, led by medical equipment and industrial machinery, was up 69 percent relative to January 2017. Nationally, orders from the forging and stamping industry were up 114 percent over December, while the primary metal products industry posted a 93 percent increase over December.
The key leading indicators for the manufacturing technology market were very strong in December and made significant improvements in January as well. Capacity utilization remains steady at 76 percent for the manufacturing sector, while the industrial production index remained at 108. The Consumer Confidence Index rounds off to 100, a new cyclical high, as was the 1.3 million new home starts in January. Overall the indicators point to a strong first quarter for the manufacturing technology market.